Califonia Bountiful

Gardening Q&A

January/February 2020 California Bountiful magazine

As a California Bountiful reader, you have the opportunity to get your seasonal gardening questions answered by gardening expert Pat Rubin. Here are a few questions from our readers.

I have clay soil and want to plant a couple of trees. The soil still seems pretty slick and thick. Is it OK to plant now?

The answer is no. Clay soil is nutritious soil, but it's very dense, and in winter the problem is worse because of the rain. Try to wait until the soil is drier. Mix compost with the soil before putting it back into the planting hole.

We cut down several trees and had the debris chipped. Can we use it in the garden?

I love this sort of material as mulch to protect the soil. It keeps moisture in, prevents weeds from growing and gives the garden a tidy look. However, you cannot mix it into the soil. As the chipped material breaks down, it uses nitrogen in the soil. As a result, that nitrogen is not available to your plants. Keep the chipped mulch on top of the soil, not in it.

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